Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Driving in Latvia

Latvian drivers SUCK. Period. Amen.

Yesterday I got to experience three different kinds of angry, stupid drivers. In a way it was my best worst driving day ever -- and that's a comment to the skills and consideration of the other people and considering I tend to follow driving rules and speed limits like the Bible.

The best example was a woman who was on the bumper of my rental car going 90 km, which isn't fast, I know, but it's the legal maximum in Latvia on highways. So I'm driving the speed limit because I don't want a ticket, not today, thankyouverymuch, when this woman tailing me starts honking her horn like it's her job. In the rear-view mirror I can see she's waving her arms wildly and her mouth is flapping as she rattles off a series of what could only be curses and poxes upon my house. Alright, she's upset, I get that. Then she swerves into the other lane, barely zips diagonally between me and the car in the neighbouring lane, speeds up to at least 120 and then cuts back across to the other lane without signalling and speeds off into the afternoon.

The funny part of her actions? Her car was covered in triangular stickers with a red border and black M in the middle - the stickers that tell you the car is a car used by a driving school. This woman was an instructor.

And thus I learned the probably source of all crappy driving in Latvia. Huzzah! Just in time to leave the country for a bit and soak up western European civility.

Moving, Cats, Dust

There is an old woman sitting dejectedly on a chair on a balcony across the courtyard and two floors up. She looks like she's being punished. The door is closed behind her and she looks less than thrilled to be out in the fresh air. I wonder what she's done wrong.

Irrelevant. Today is the final day in the Riga apartment. Excitement and sadness. And a bit of frustration. I'll start with frustration. I love my (now former) flatmate and she's a wonderful friend and person, but when you move out and leave your key in the postbox without cleaning anything in the apartment and leave a bunch of your unwanted items behind for me to clean up, my positive feelings become a little harder to dole out. Good thing my best friend is coming out later to help me put this place back to order.

Sadness. This is a good place. It's a good location. The rent was decent enough. The landlady was a riot. The fridge is big enough to hold all of our assorted jams, mustards, and sauces (as we rarely had real food around). My cat had plenty of windows to guard from the onslaught of angry, dirty pigeons. Etcetera. Also, moving in general is a stressful undertaking.

Excitement. I leave with a few friends for a 10-day trip around Germany(!!!) and France. Then I get four days to pull myself together again before jetting off to the US for the rest of July. This will involve carting the cat, howling and piss-stained (the cat, not me), through four airports and three flights, followed by a two-day car ride across the eastern states. I'm excited for all of this, minus the piss part, but am also concerned for the cat. After today's vet visit, he has even ME convinced that I'm the worst person on the face of the planet. I hope the huge bay window facing the bird feeder in Minnesota will more than make up for what is to come.

As soon as I publish this post I'm off to keep throwing my belongings into unmarked boxes and bags -- it'll be like Christmas when I open them again in a few months or just days. I always want to write something more frequently, but June was a wild month in Latvia. I finished my contract at work and went in part-time to help out until they found someone to replace me (which has yet to happen), did some driving around Latvia with my dad, who was here on research/vacation purposes, and then the whole moving thing.

I can't keep my family obligations and thoughts straight right now. Hopefully I'll get some mental air cleared soon so I can make things interesting on here again.

That old woman is still out on the balcony. Now she's chewing her nails. What a world.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Um, June.

Stuff and things, and then some more stuff and things.

Vacation was fantastic. That's about all I can really thing to say of it right now. I can't even say if I'll attempt to go back and write some kind of re-cap for it.

This is my last contract week on the job in Riga. It's a little confusing, but I think I'll be okay. I still haven't made it to editing photos from the UK trip, and friends and family are getting restless.

My thoughts will settle, soon I'll maybe get more then 6 hours of sleep a night, and things will be right again. Or at least more right than they are now.